By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio
The St. Bonaventure Bonnies host the Jackson State Tigers tonight at the Reilly Center.
The 2-1 Bonnies are coming off a thrilling win over bitter rival Canisius, while the 1-3 Tigers are looking to get back to winning ways after a loss at UAB.
Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt could not have made this part of the schedule any better, sandwiching a rather light opponent between two rivalry games. This game is intended to be a confidence-booster before the Big Four Classic at First Niagara Center on Saturday, where the Bonnies will face Niagara.
It’s important to note that junior point guard Iakeem Alston suffered an ankle injury in the game against Canisius and is not expected to play tonight.
Here’s the breakdown for tonight’s game:
St. Bonaventure: Mark Schmidt. 109-110 as Bonnies coach.
Jackson State: Wayne Brent. 12-23 as Tigers coach.
Key players for Jackson State:
Kaven Bernard- 6-5 junior forward. Bernard is the Tigers’ leading scorer at 12 points per game and is second in rebounding with five boards a contest. A junior college transfer, he’s a great inside scorer who drives to the hoop with efficiency.
Javeres Brent- 6-3 sophomore guard. Brent is second behind Bernard with 10.5 points a game and is the team’s leading rebounder with 5.3 a game. He had his best game on the glass against UAB, with 11 rebounds. The Bonnies have to be sure not to leave him open behind the arc, either; he can knock down threes from time to time.
Dontaveon Robinson- 6-4 sophomore guard. Robinson has averaged eight points a game over the first four games, with 11 against South Florida. He’s not a threat from three, as his buckets have all come from inside the arc.
Keys to victory for Jackson State: To pull off the upset, the Tigers are going to have to find some semblance of a three-point touch. Taking a large majority of your shots in the paint and attempting just 15 threes a game might work against SWAC conference opponents, but that plan is not going to work against excellent interior defenders like Youssou Ndoye and Dion Wright. The Tigers have to find the three-ball if they are going to beat Bonaventure.
Keys to victory for St. Bonaventure: If Alston does not play, Mark Schmidt’s team is going to need another show from the “Adams Family” like the one they put on against Dartmouth. Jay Adams will have to play close to the full 40 minutes, while Jalen Adams will see his minutes significantly increase from the five he played on Saturday. If both Adams’s are in double-digits by the end of the night, there’s no reason the Bonnies shouldn’t coast to a win.
The Prediction: 75-55 Bonnies